Pictorial supplement to The Fifth Kingdom - Chapter 16
Mutualistic symbioses between fungi and animals(16 pictures)
(1) Leaf-cutting ants, Leucoagaricus and Lepiota
leaf-cutting ant (belongs to the Tribe Attini) carrying a leaf and a passenger.
distribution of the genus Atta. Although its main base is in South America, its range extends to Texas and Cuba.
excavated fungus gardens of Atta cephalotes (from Fisher, Stradling and Pegler 1994)
fungus garden of Acromyrmex (from Fisher et al. 1994).
bromatia (inflated hyphal tips) of the cultivated fungus, Leucoagaricus gongylophorus (Agaricales). These are the main food of the ants (from Fisher et al. 1994).
(2) Termites and Termitomyces
sectioned termite mound (Macrotermitinae). The upper part is an air-conditioning system; the animals live below, with the royal chamber in the centre, and the fungal combs around the periphery.
termites can't actually digest wood - they must have either microbial gut endosymbionts (as in the New World), or an exosymbiont in the form of a fungus (as in the Old World).
one of the fungal combs in a nest of Odontermes (Macrotermitinae).
a termite queen surrounded by workers.
termite queen cartoon - she is perpetually pregnant, so can perhaps be excused for exhibiting pica.
"You call this a niche?" (comment attributed to an upwardly mobile attine female)
termite workers tending fungal comb.
diagrammatic section of a termite mound.
excavation of basidiomata of Termitomyces arising from a subterranean comb.
rooting basidiomata of Termitomyces sp.
rooting basidiomata of Termitomyces albuminosus.
Go to Chapter 17 Go to Table of Contents
© Mycologue publications 2020